January 2003 Archives

Gay wine

Rosso Gayardo: gay wine from Italy

Belgium approves gay marriage

Belgium legally recognizes gay marriage.

Günter Grass

Günter Grass writes: No Beginning or End to War.

Theaters Against War

When I was at La Mama recently, I saw a flyer that mentioned a group called THAW - Theaters Against War. I see several groups I support -- and I mean through donations, not just buying tickets -- on the list of members, which makes me very happy.

They're planning an event called "Thaw out for peace" on March 2.

Limbaugh boycott

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A campaign to target advertisers on Rush Limbaugh's radio show starts to get some media attention.

Money Cam

My kind of webcam: monkeys in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture.


Was Leonardo da Vinci a geek?

Things to Do

  1. Go see The Plank Project. I saw it tonight and it was hilarious. Smart play, great cast, $15 tickets. Here is a review.
  2. Go see Weimarband at Joe's Pub on Tuesday, Feb. 4 -- Kurt Weill meets Hanks Williams
  3. Go buy art for $99 or less at Cynthia Broan's $99 Bargain Store Show -- opens Feb. 1 at 10am

Stormin' Norman

Norman Schwarzkopf wants to give peace a chance.


Giuliana: myth vs. reality

Fired for blogging

Man fired for blogging on the job.

Microsoft worm

Microsoft's own servers were hit with last week's worm because they hadn't installed security updates on all of their servers.

Henry V

Be it thy course to busy giddy minds With foreign quarrels.

-- Shakespeare, Henry V

Courtesy of George M. Carter:

If you cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq. If the markets are a drama, bomb Iraq. If the terrorists are frisky, Pakistan is looking shifty, North Korea is too risky, Bomb Iraq.

If we have no allies with us, bomb Iraq.
If we think someone has dissed us, bomb Iraq.
So to hell with the inspections,
Let's look tough for the elections,
Close your mind and take directions,
Bomb Iraq.

It's "pre-emptive non-aggression", bomb Iraq.
Let's prevent this mass destruction, bomb Iraq.
They've got weapons we can't see,
And that's good enough for me
'Cos it's all the proof I need
Bomb Iraq.

If you never were elected, bomb Iraq.
If your mood is quite dejected, bomb Iraq.
If you think Saddam's gone mad,
With the weapons that he had,
(And he tried to kill your dad),
Bomb Iraq.

If your corporate fraud is growin', bomb Iraq.
If your ties to it are showin', bomb Iraq.
If your politics are sleazy,
And hiding that ain't easy,
And your manhood's getting queasy,
Bomb Iraq.

Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq.
For our might knows not our borders, bomb Iraq.
Disagree? We'll call it treason,
Let's make war not love this season,
Even if we have no reason,
Bomb Iraq.

Also check out ABSURD RESPONSE TO AN ABSURD WAR. Who says lefties don't have a sense of humor?

Inauthentic families

A celibate man in a dress says same-sex relationships are inauthentic families.

Ani says...

Ani DiFranco says: unauthorized duplication, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as the real thing.

Israeli officer obstructs an air attack

An Israeli officer has been removed from his post for obstructing an air attack against the Palestinians.

According to the Israeli newspaper, Maariv, the military intelligence officer held back information "for reasons of conscience" because he believed the raid would harm civilians.

Jordanian monarchy in Iraq?

Jordanian King Abdallah would favorably consider an American request to extend the auspices of the monarchy over Iraq for a temporary period after the expected U.S.-led attack on Saddam Hussein's regime, if the Americans ask, according to senior political sources participating in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Nigerian spam

Funny. The standard Nigerian spam email has a new variation featuring the two George Bushes.

I had a nice meal tonight at Star Foods -- Southern Diner meets Grandma's French Cooking. It sounds doubtful, but it really works: combinations like grilled shrimp and grits, calves liver with turnip greens, monkfish with bacon, peas, and onions. You can also get stuff like macaroni and cheese or grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. The vibe is nice too. The crowd and staff are rather Williamsburg/East Village alterna-boys and -girls. They were even playing the CD from K48, plus some Alice Cooper.

They're on 1st Street between First and Second Avenues, and they serve until 4am (1am on Sunday nights). My only quibble is that they have paper napkins, but at these prices I shouldn't complain -- besides it goes with the diner theme.

NY Press: David Rees

NY Press, a generally slimy paper, has a nice article on David Rees, creator of Get Your War On. The online version is missing the adorable picture of Mr. Rees, so pick up a paper copy.

Changing the Climate

Here is where to buy your "I'm changing the climate, ask me how" bumper stickers for tagging SUVs.

New Art Acquisition

Matthew Callinan's "White Angel":

matthew callinan - white angel

Installation view at White Columns: "Cheap" show (with other works by Matthew)

callinan installation

These sculptures are made only from plastic bottles and metal screws. For my readers in the Chicago area, the White Columns show is moving to Gallery 312 next.

Baby Hippo

Walrus / Football

A walrus in San Diego gets ready for the Super Bowl with its toy football.

US considers nuclear strike against Iraq

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the U.S. is considering a Tactical Nuclear Strike on Iraq.

Bush's poll numbers

Bush's poll numbers continue to fall. The percentage that say they disapprove of the way he is doing his job is now 38%.

What if

Republican Babes

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I don't think it's a parody site: JerseyGOP has a Republican Babes section including a former Playboy centerfold who says "I am incredibly conservative, I dress conservatively. I live conservatively. I have a very strong belief in God. I watch Rush Limbaugh on television."

Doing a little remodeling around here

Posting might be sparse, weirdness might happen.

I dropped by an opening tonight at my friend Kim's shop Johnson tonight. She has an exhibit of photographs by Anthony Gasparro. If you're on the LES, stop buy and buy a photo or two -- they're priced to sell -- or if you're a girl (or just girly) pick up some of Kim's fashion stylings.

Click MORE to see the invitation image.

The New Great Communicator

Haha - oh - stop it hurts!

I almost spit my coffee all over my iBook after reading about Lawrence Kudlow over at TBOGG:

The great investor class is mightily worried about all this -- and it's holding its breath, waiting for President Bush to launch a counter-offensive. Meeting with economists in the White House Cabinet Room is not what shareholders want to see. They want the new great communicator George W. Bush out selling his plan in the key heartland red states, and maybe even in some of the blue bi-coastal states.

Betty Bowers on our Foreign Policy

You can buy this bumper sticker on her site:

My popularity is slipping: It's time to start killing some folks!

Also, don't miss her on Gum Control.

A Warrior Against War

Ellis Henican on Col. David Hackworth:

David Hackworth is one of the most celebrated soldiers in modern U.S. history. He joined the merchant marine at 14, the Army at 15, and he's never looked back. He was the youngest U.S. captain in the Korean War, the youngest colonel in Vietnam. As a soldier and later a war correspondent, he's been on a dozen battlefields, hot and cold. And he never became a Pentagon bureaucrat. Of all the medals that have been pinned to his uniform, it's the Combat Infantryman's Badge he's proudest of.

Now his country is tilting toward war again.

"Having thought long and hard about war with Iraq," Hackworth told me, measuring his words carefully, "I cannot find justification. I don't see a threat. They are not Nazi Germany. This is not the Wehrmacht. In no way does the situation in Iraq affect my nation's security. That is the bottom line of analyzing threats. 'Does this country threaten my country's security?' In this case, absolutely not."

The awesome risks of this war, he said, far outweigh the potential rewards.

"Focus on protecting the American homeland, which is not adequately defended," Hack said. "Nine-eleven proved that. All of the machinations that have gone on since then are more lip service and crowd-pleasing than real. Our borders are still wide open. Our ports are vulnerable, too. And there are plenty of sleeper cells - Middle Eastern terrorists living among us, waiting to do their thing."


And finally, what about all the anti-American sentiment this war will generate? "One and a half billion Muslims, who don't like us anyway. Now they're gonna look and say, 'Here come the crusaders again.'"

From their ranks rise the terrorists of tomorrow.

As he travels across the country, Hackworth told me, the vast majority of military veterans he meets see this war as a rotten idea.

"They've been there," he said. "They know war is not a blood sport, as cable news make it out to be. Cheney and Bush and Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld - they've never stood and faced the elephant. These are the people who gush for war."

But don't expect the generals and the admirals to raise their own private doubts.

"Through the long eight-year bloodbath of Vietnam, not one general sounded off and said, 'Bad war, can't win it, let's get out.' They went along to get along. It's true again. The top generals are head-shakers."

As for the public, just watch how quickly the pro-war sentiment will evaporate.

"My parachute brigade was the first to go to Vietnam," Hackworth recalled. "Eighty-five percent of Americans were saying, 'Hey, hey, all the way with LBJ.' We were there a year, shipping body bags back home as fast as we could. Suddenly, the American public, which is so fickle, did a 180. 'Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?'"

Who pays taxes


Very interesting chart from the Jan. 21 New York Times:


Venezuela - the real deal

James has a good post on what's really going on in Venezuela.

Blood in the water

Is the press starting to realize that Bush isn't the Teflon® man?

AIDS Nominee Withdraws From White House AIDS Panel

'Made in China' labels hidden at Bush event

Of course, there are plenty of fundamentalist bigots still on the AIDS panel.

In Defense of Al Sharpton

Nathan Newman has a good post titled In Defense of Al Sharpton.

Several facts about Al Sharpton:

  • I saw him get arrested at one of the demonstrations for Amadou Diallo.

  • He is the only presidential candidate I have ever seen at an AIDS demonstration, marching with sundry queens, ACT UPers, and other activists.

  • He is the only (Democratic) presidential candidate who is not in favor of the death penalty.

Thank you Log Cabin Republicans

I'm so glad their gay dollars and efforts help support the party that just appointed a man who calls AIDS the "gay plague", homosexuality a "death style", and runs a ministry to "cure" homosexuals to the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV and AIDS.

Atrios has a good post on this.

If I see one more "Thanks Ralph Nader"-type post regarding stories like this I'm going to scream. It's been 2 years since that election and we've watched the Democrats behave like sheep.

Old Europe

Our government is pissing off most of the world. At this rate we're not going to have any allies. Being the supreme military power without any allies will be very expensive and dangerous in the long run. Calling the two most powerful states in Europe "Old Europe" is not useful.

From the BBC:

Mr Rumsfeld made the remarks in Washington after French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder agreed to work together to oppose US threats of war in Iraq.

"Germany has been a problem and France has been a problem," Mr Rumsfeld told Washington's foreign press corps.

"But you look at vast numbers of other countries in Europe, they're not with France and Germany... they're with the US.

"You're thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don't," he said. "I think that's old Europe."

Mr Rumsfeld pointed to the planned expansion of Nato, with seven eastern European and Baltic countries invited to join the alliance.

"If you look at the entire Nato Europe today, the centre of gravity is shifting to the east," Mr Rumsfeld said.

If the centre of gravity is shifting, it's because we're basically using U.S. tax dollars to give military hardware to the more eastern countries via favorable "loan" terms.

Meanwhile, China joins Russia, France and Germany in opposition to immediate military action against Iraq.


Brian Eno, writing in Time Magazine(!) has it about right:

When Europeans make such criticisms, Americans assume we're envious. "They want what we've got," the thinking goes, "and if they can't get it, they're going to stop us from having it." But does everyone want what America has? Well, we like some of it but could do without the rest: among the highest rates of violent crime, economic inequality, functional illiteracy, incarceration and drug use in the developed world. President Bush recently declared that the U.S. was "the single surviving model of human progress." Maybe some Americans think this self-evident, but the rest of us see it as a clumsy arrogance born of ignorance.

Europeans tend to regard free national health services, unemployment benefits, social housing and so on as pretty good models of human progress. We think it's important — civilized, in fact — to help people who fall through society's cracks. This isn't just altruism, but an understanding that having too many losers in society hurts everyone. It's better for everybody to have a stake in society than to have a resentful underclass bent on wrecking things. To many Americans, this sounds like socialism, big government, the nanny state. But so what? The result is: Europe has less gun crime and homicide, less poverty and arguably a higher quality of life than the U.S., which makes a lot of us wonder why America doesn't want some of what we've got.

New Get Your War On

Go here. It's not one of his strongest, but still worth reading.

Theatre is alive and well

I'm feeling very good about the state of NYC theatre after two nights in a row of interesting work. Last night we saw Art, Life & Show Biz, by Ain Gordon, at P.S.122. It's subtitled "a non-fiction play", and the substance of it is the lives of Ain Gordon and three fabulous women performers: his mother Valda Setterfield (modern dance), Lola Pashalinkski (downtown theatre), and Helen Gallagher (Broadway/musicals).

I've seen the first two several times, but, not really being a musicals person -- don't take my homosexual membership card away -- I had never seen Helen Gallagher before. It's amazing that certain people just have "it" when you see them in person. She was a star, and you couldn't help but feel her presence even when she was just sitting still.

I think I was most moved by Lola, since hers is the world to which I'm most connected. She was a member of Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company. It was wonderful to hear her stories of being a teenager in the 50s and coming out, realizing that there were others like her. I saw her at one of the memorial events for my friend Paul Schmidt, but I didn't go up and introduce myself, because it felt weird to be at such an event and run up to tell her I was a big fan. One of her stories involved the Ridiculous doing a play at Christopher's End, a gay bar at Christopher and West Streets, in the early 70s. One night Lotte Lenya came to see it. She was in NYC starring in Cabaret at the time. She told people she loved it -- that it reminded her of the old days in Berlin.

I also liked some of the stories from Helen about older days on Broadway. When she talked about Jerome Robbins, she said he was very talented, but he was very mean. He was the reason Equity rules require performers to be paid for rehearsals.


Tonight we saw The Ladies, by The Civilians, at HERE. It's a look at four women who were famous (or infamous) for their relationships to dictators: Eva Peron, Imelda Marcos, Madame Mao and Elena Ceaucescu. The work was created by Anne Washburn and Anne Kauffman, and the two of them are characters in the play as well. I know Anne (Annie) Kauffman, so it was wacky to watch someone play her on stage. I talked with Jennifer Morris (the actress who played her) afterward, and she had noticed me laughing and reacting to her performance.

There is a lot of interesting material in this. James commented on one of the things that Anne K's character mentions that is so interesting about them: they didn't care what people thought of them -- which is a very powerful thing. It's also interesting to think about whether these women were the product of a very specific time in history: the point of the simultaneous decline of traditional monarchies/aristocracies and the rise of women's independence and power. Will there be any more of these -- to use Anne W's phrase -- "glamourpuss wives" in the future?

It runs next weekend also at HERE -- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday -- and I really recommend going. The text itself is very smart, and the cast is brilliant. It's fabulous to see a group of highly intelligent actors work on a script like this. I hesitate to say more, since I don't want to spoil it for anyone who will see it, but the way the play bounces off of certain 19th "heroines" like Nora in A Doll's House and Anna Karenina is fascinating.

One last quote: The two Annes are talking at one point about how awful most of the books are about these women -- that they are all either "scurrilous or froufy".

Powell backs Univ. of Michigan

As a follow-up to my earlier article, I'm posting a story that says Powell disagrees with President Bush's position on the University of Michigan case.

Polls and Stupid Americans

If we go to war with Iraq and any Americans actually die, it's not going to be pretty. I'm also baffled by the idea that the number of people who think Bush hasn't provided adequate proof of Iraq's crimes has decreased.

A poll released Thursday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press indicated 76 percent of Americans support a war if United Nations inspectors find evidence of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. That support drops to 29 percent if no such weapons are discovered, even if the Iraqi government cannot prove it doesn't have them. And if U.S. soldiers were to suffer thousands of casualties, then 48 percent would oppose the war, compared with the 43 percent who would support it. And slightly more than half do not believe Bush has sufficiently explained reasons for war.


According to the Pew poll, the number of respondents who say they believe Bush has clearly justified an attack on Iraq has dropped significantly since his September address at the UN. Back then a majority (52 percent to 37 percent) said they believed he had adequately explained his reasons for using military force. In the latest poll, a majority (53 percent to 42 percent) said they believe he has not clearly voiced his reasons.


Another one: 50% of Americans think one or more of the September 11 hijackers was an Iraqi citizen.

Affirmative Action

I've had it with the hypocrisy of George W. Bush on affirmative action. He misuses words like "quota" while pandering to the people who think non-whites have no disadvantages in our society and that illiterate black people are keeping hard-working white people out of jobs.

First, let's look at the University of Michigan FAQ regarding admissions:

While students with very low grades and test scores typically are denied admission, and students with very high grades and test scores typically are admitted, most applicants do not fall into either of these categories. For that large pool of qualified applicants in the middle range, many other factors -- including, but not limited to, race and ethnicity -- can make a difference in admissions decisions.


Applicants receive up to 40 points for other factors that indicate an applicant's potential contribution to LSA. They may receive 20 points for one of the following: membership in an underrepresented minority group, socioeconomic disadvantage, attendance at a predominantly minority high school, athletics, or at the Provost's discretion. Reflecting the University's commitment both to state residents and to broader geographic diversity, counselors assign ten points for Michigan residency, six additional points for residency in underrepresented Michigan counties, and two points for residency in underrepresented states. Applicants receive one or four points for alumni relationships. The personal essay can earn up to three points. Based on an applicant's activities, work experience, and awards, counselors may assign up to five points for leadership and service, and five more points for personal achievement.

Interestingly, the Bush administration is incensed by the idea of race affecting admissions, but seems unconcerned about other criteria, such as "underrepresented Michigan counties" which is as likely to benefit rural whites as anyone. Of course, we know why Bush can't bring up "alumni relationships". This is a man that would never have attended Phillips Andover, Yale, or Harvard without rich white guy/connected father/alumni affirmative action. Check out Danziger on the subject. Ellis Henican from Newsdays tells us:

He was a C student at Phillips Andover.

He got a not-so-stellar 1206 on his SATs - 566 verbal, 640 math. That was a full 180 points below the median score for the Yale University class of '68.

But boola-boola for him!

In the fall of 1964, George W. Bush was welcomed inside Yale's ivy-covered walls as a "legacy admittee."

And in the years that followed [at Yale], young W never pulled his average above a C. His college transcript, in an eye-popping leak to The New Yorker magazine, showed a 73 in Introduction to the American Political System and a 71 in Introduction to International Relations, to cite two examples that could mean something in hindsight.

Do you know anyone else who was admitted to Harvard Business School with an undergraduate C average?

Yesterday's Newsday reported that Condoleezza Rice had issued a statement that using race as a factor to achieve diversity on college campuses is "appropriate" -- contradicting the President but saying she supports the decision to challenge the University of Michigan policy. She was responding to a Washington Post story that said she was instrumental in shaping the administration's decision to intervene in the Michigan case.

In today's Newsday, Jimmy Breslin says Powell: Act or Resign. Colin Powell spoke very eloquently about affirmative action in a speech at the 2000 GOP convention:

The subject was affirmative action, of which Powell was a recipient in his time. Here is a guy who got out of City College, where Frankfurter went, where Salk went, and public taxes paid for his education and gave him a chance to get where he is now. It is what the country should be about.

And to his audience, which was 94 percent white, affirmative action was as dangerous as wired dynamite.

Powell said:

"We must understand the cynicism that exists in the black community, the kind of cynicism that is created when, for example, some in our party miss no opportunity to roundly and loudly condemn affirmative action that helped a few thousand black kids get an education.

"But hardly a whimper is heard over affirmative action for lobbyists who load our federal tax codes with preferences for special interests.”

Right after that, Powell told interviewers, "You need to be a little careful when you see nothing wrong with that kind of preference or affirmative action, and say it's fine, whether it's sugar growers in Florida or somewhere else in the tax code, but suddenly a preference system, as you call it, an affirmative action program, as I prefer to call it, that allows a few thousand kids to get an education somehow is so damaging to our constitutional process that it has to become a major factor for our party and a major center for the party to attack.”

One thing to remember as you're reading about all of this is that all of the President's proposals regarding diversity through economic tests rather than racial criteria rely strongly on keeping segregated high schools in order to maintain racial diversity at the college level. Another is that the University of Michigan case involves the law school, and the administration has no proposals for dealing with diversity for graduate or professional schools.

And don't even get me started asking who died in Viet Nam so that Bush wouldn't. Now that's affirmative action.

Go read some RuminateThis

It's been a bit since I've written a good political post, so I'll point you to one by Lisa at

RuminateThis that you should go read right now.


We just came back from our second visit to see Christian Holstad's show at Daniel Reich. See the NY Times article, plus some images from LFL Gallery. Great show! There is a lot of creative energy, with a lot of different media in a show titled "Life is a Gift". We had seen some of his work based on erasing NY Times photos and adding drawing in the past at Daniel's, and there are some fabulous examples of those, but there is so much more. It's the first time in a long time that I have bought a work at an opening, and what an opening it was! Daniel's gallery is his tiny studio apartment, and there must have been over 100 people there over the course of the evening, including a huge crowd in the building hallway, chatting, smoking and drinking beer. Christian also did the sets and costumes for a show at P.S.122 this weekend: Stable.

We'll Make Great Mud - Christian Holstad

We went to the party afterward at Simon Watson's loft downtown, and ran into a lot of fabulous people, plus met some new ones. We spent a while talking with charming musician/aesthete Patrick, whom we originally met through artist Joe Ovelman. Patrick recognized Christian as the person he spotted on the L train, crocheting, on a regular basis. Joe has an opening in February at Daniel Silverstein, so watch this space, or the gallery's web site, for more info.

We also met Alejandro Diaz. We just ended up talking to this charming artist, along with Maika from SOUTHFIRST, who was telling us about the fact that he recently had The New Yorker buy some drawings of his for use in little places within articles, when he mentioned his name. We both said, "We have a work of yours, from the White Box benefit!" We also met Eric Stormes, who has some charming little pins made from drawings on mapboard and is in Cynthia Broan's $99 Bargain Store Show which opens February 1.

The Times article mentioned above also talks about a show at Oliver Kamm's apartment, which is three floors above ours. If he can get away with it in our building, maybe we should start having exhibits too! I certainly know of a lot of people whose work I would like to show.


Last night we went to a dance performance by Allyson Green and Ben Wright at Danspace titled "Interim". It had its moments, but I wasn't bowled over by the dance itself. However, the lighting design, by Sarah Gilmartin, was absolutely the best lighting I have ever seen at Danspace. The sound design, by Alan Stones, based on manipulating a recording of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata performed by Paderewski, plus a performance of Bluebird of Happiness by Jan Peerce in 1945, was exquisite - one of the best things I've heard at a dance performance.

Domestic terrorism


A Christian terrorist group, that in 1997 claimed that it bombed an Atlanta lesbian night club, is encouraging its followers to rally in Buffalo.

Do you think a gay group that bombed a church would be able to hold a rally, or would all of its member be in jail?


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As promised, I'm posting 2 MP3s from PantyChrist, a collaboration between Bob Ostertag, Justin Bond and Otomo Yoshihide:

Giddy Up Cowboy (5MB) -- Lasso!

Purple Butterflies (1MB) -- what raves are really like

Williamsburg cultural outing

We spent most of the afternoon and evening in Williamsburg, going to galleries and ending the evening with Glenn at Galapagos to see John Moran and Eva Müller in "What's Opera Doc?" The performance was great -- cool sound and movement, acting that was scary and good at the same time. I got a little worried at the beginning, especially since we dragged Glenn away from his lesson plans to join us. When we walked in we could smell pot, and Ms. Müller joked in her introduction about John being "over there smoking pot", but it all turned out alright. More than alright -- fabulous! Check out the images on their site of Moran's theatre productions.

We saw some good things in Williamsburg today. I'm feeling the need to spend most of my gallery-going time in Williamsburg rather than Chelsea these days. Recommended:

  • Deborah Stratman's video "In Order Not To Be Here" at Momenta

  • Tricia McLaughlin at Star 67 -- great models, drawings, and animation

  • Lee Etheridge IV at Pierogi 2000 -- He uses an IBM selectric to create patterns of letters and words on handmade paper, in a new phase, on photographs. I liked his previous show at the gallery, but I think this one is better and really strong.

What's Opera Doc

I'm going to see John Moran and Eva Mueller at Galapagos tonight at 9pm. Any takers?

Culture roundup

Over the last few days, I've "done some art", plus seen one movie that wasn't quite art, but was entertaining: I went to a preview screening of P.S. Your Cat is Dead from actor/co-writer/director/80s hunk Steve Guttenberg. It's amusing, but I would probably wait to see it on video if I hadn't seen it already. The screening was organized by The New Festival, so it was a big gay crowd there to see him in person. The highlight of the evening was getting to talk to David Drake, whom we hadn't seen since attending his Son of Drakula at Dance Theater Workshop. People like David give me hope for homo culture and art -- he's a pretty face, but he's a smart guy who is much more than a pretty face. Another one of those is John Cameron Mitchell.

OK. Enough celebrity worship -- on to other things.

Several nights ago I saw a cool evening of music at Merkin. The first half was a collaboration of "live animation" by Pierre Hébert and music by Bob Ostertag called Between Science and Garbage. Hébert used an iBook plus web cam and a lot of objects and drawings to gradually assemble an animated film while we watched, using everything from drawings on paper to apples and Coke cans. They were selling Ostertag's CDs in the lobby, so I bought PantyChrist, which I always knew about but had never heard. It's wonderful -- a collaboration between him and Justin Bond. How could you ask for more? I'll put up some MP3s later.

On Friday we went to an opening for Stacy Greene at Plus Ultra in Williamsburg, then hopped back on the L to see puppet wizard Paul Zaloom at P.S. 122 featuring political puppetry and a gay Punch and Judy show, renamed "Punch and Jimmy".

Stacy's new work, as she has told me, is a new direction for an artist who already has worked in several media. We first encountered her at Plus Ultra's inaugural show, titled "Skank" where we picked up a copy of her Rorschach Striptease DVD. There are 3 photographs of abandoned drive-in movie theaters, then the rest of the works consists of pieces assembled from photgraphs on individual panels to form a sort of collage. My favorite piece in the show is called "Los Zapatos de Lorraine", in which the title comes from a pair of chintz-patterned shoes belonging to her aunt Lorraine in one of the panels.

Yesterday we went to a few Chelsea galleries. My favorite things I saw were Devorah Sperber at Caren Golden, Michael Wetzel at Clementine, and Kevin Landers at Elizabeth Dee.

Today we're headed out to Williamsburg to see some shows.

Who licked the red off his candy?

President's Public Mood Turns Cheerless

Chalk it up to the January blues, or having to go back to work after a two-week vacation, or simply a plate full of weighty, as-yet-unmade decisions.


Journalists escorted into a Cabinet meeting on Monday were allowed just four questions. On Wednesday, the media were ushered in at the beginning of a session with congressional leaders from both parties. Bush tersely informed them that no questions would be welcomed.

"I'm going to have a statement and then we'll ask you to leave so we can get down to our business," he said. After his statement and the signing of legislation extending federal unemployment benefits, he reiterated the point. "Get out of the room as quickly as you came in," he said.

Barry says...

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the trend of Chelsea Boys at the gym wearing too-short t-shirts so you can see their pierced belly buttons is a bad thing. When hairy guys without piercings do it, it just makes them look like rednecks. As is wearing A&F shorts with Abercrombie across the ass. As are boys who go for that 70s look - feathered hair and all, parted in the middle -- paired with a vacuous stare. Unlike this it doesn't appear to be ironic.


Update: I forgot to mention all of the guys wearing ski caps while working out.

Mark Morford says...

The correct word is massacre, not war.

Rumblings in the UK over Iraq

CNN of all places has a good article on the fact that Blair is starting to distance himself from Bush a little bit, with his spokesman saying

[Blair] underlined his view that the weapons inspectors in Iraq must be given the time and space they need to do their job and, in that sense, January 27, though an important staging post, shouldn't be regarded in any sense as a deadline.


Train drivers yesterday refused to move a freight train carrying ammunition believed to be destined for British forces being deployed in the Gulf.

Railway managers cancelled the Ministry of Defence service after the crewmen, described as "conscientious objectors" by a supporter, said they opposed Tony Blair's threat to attack Iraq.

The anti-war revolt is the first such industrial action by workers for decades.

Thanks to my friend Anees for the latter story.

Music recommendation

The lovely and talented composer/performer Gordon Beeferman is performing in Williamsburg at Café Right Bank (upstairs) as part of the Avant Tuesday series.

A sign that you're dating a redneck

I was talking with the waitress at dinner last night, and she mentioned that she is dating someone from North Carolina -- he lives in Charlotte. She was playing scrabble with him, and she said, "I can't remember, does isometric have a hyphen?"

His response was, "What did you say? It sounded like 'I sold my truck'."

Music in honor of Jhames

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... and his change in employment status.

Here is an MP3 (about 4MB) of theNEWDEAL's "Exciting New Direction".

Helen Thomas Rocks

Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer - January 6, 2003

Q At the earlier briefing, Ari, you said that the President deplored the taking of innocent lives. Does that apply to all innocent lives in the world? And I have a follow-up.

MR. FLEISCHER: I refer specifically to a horrible terrorist attack on Tel Aviv that killed scores and wounded hundreds. And the President, as he said in his statement yesterday, deplores in the strongest terms the taking of those lives and the wounding of those people, innocents in Israel.

Q My follow-up is, why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?

MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, the question is how to protect Americans, and our allies and friends --

Q They're not attacking you.

MR. FLEISCHER: -- from a country --

Q Have they laid the glove on you or on the United States, the Iraqis, in 11 years?

MR. FLEISCHER: I guess you have forgotten about the Americans who were killed in the first Gulf War as a result of Saddam Hussein's aggression then.

Q Is this revenge, 11 years of revenge?

MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, I think you know very well that the President's position is that he wants to avert war, and that the President has asked the United Nations to go into Iraq to help with the purpose of averting war.

Q Would the President attack innocent Iraqi lives?

MR. FLEISCHER: The President wants to make certain that he can defend our country, defend our interests, defend the region, and make certain that American lives are not lost.

Q And he thinks they are a threat to us?

MR. FLEISCHER: There is no question that the President thinks that Iraq is a threat to the United States.

Q The Iraqi people?

MR. FLEISCHER: The Iraqi people are represented by their government. If there was regime change, the Iraqi --

Q So they will be vulnerable?

MR. FLEISCHER: Actually, the President has made it very clear that he has not dispute with the people of Iraq. That's why the American policy remains a policy of regime change. There is no question the people of Iraq --

Q That's a decision for them to make, isn't it? It's their country.

MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, if you think that the people of Iraq are in a position to dictate who their dictator is, I don't think that has been what history has shown.

Q I think many countries don't have -- people don't have the decision -- including us.

[via cursor]

Featured Collectors

Mixed Greens has a nice interview with a male couple who are collectors as the latest Featured Collectors story.

James and I were interviewed by them last year.

When I grow up...


I want to have arms like Jeremy Shockey.


After months of hard work, I present:

www.charlesgoldmanwork.com, featuring the artwork of Charles Goldman.

I supplied the technology, and Charles and I created the design.

I'm hoping to generalize the code into a side business for hosting artists' web sites, but since my consulting job pays much better, it's not the highest priority at the moment.

For those of you who have been to my apartment, Charles did the Formica Painting in the living room.

Blue Flower, a followup

Maybe I ended that last post about The Blue Flower on more of a down note than I intended. I was tired, it was late, etc.

Also, the period beginning with pre-WW I Europe and ending with the collapse of the Weimar Republic is one of the most depressing episodes in Western civilization. Many artists, politicians, and thinkers believed that war would sweep away the ossified establishment, and a beautiful new order would be founded on the slate wiped clean by the chaos. People believed that the war would be over in a matter of weeks. It lasted four years and 10 million people died.

As we waited in line to go into the theatre last night, someone gave every person a small artificial blue flower, a bit like the red poppies that veterans sell or give away on Veterans' Day -- the anniversary of the armistice. Attached was a piece of paper with these words: Pro Patria Mori.

It's sobering to live in a time where the people in charge of this country think war will make us safer. The European elite in 1914 was much more educated and cultured than our leaders, knew their history better, and yet made a horrible mistake when they thought the same thing.

I was reading the program this morning to learn more about the artists involved, and one of the things that struck me was that most of the people came from places like the plains of Texas, or Memphis, or western Pennsylvania. Maybe there is hope for art in America, as long as people can make it to NYC, and can find a way to afford to be here plus the audience they deserve. I also have to say I am extremely impressed by artists that choose to work with subjects like these, which have great resonance for our time but are not obvious "crowd pleasers." Spend some time on the Weimarband web site. The amount of detail is a bit obsessive -- the kind of site I would build if I were part of it.

I was just browing the web site of one of the performers who made me use the word "charismatic" in my earlier post, Jen Chapin. She is a musician and social activist. Check it out.

The Weimarband will be apppearing at Joe's Pub on February 4 at 7pm, and the tickets are only $12.

Blue Flower

... in a river every moment passing new ... I climbed the Eiffel Tower, and saw the rooftops from the angels' view. Now things will never, will never be the same. They will never, will never be the same.

I saw Blue Flower by the Weimarband at HERE tonight. It's still a work in progress, but musically it's very good -- they describe themselves as Sturm n' Twang, or Kurt Weill meets Hank Williams -- with strong musicians and talented, charismatic singers. There are samples on the Weimbarband web site.

The visual design, by Ruth Bauer, uses beautiful slides of her own creation plus historic images of people such as Franz Josef and Marie Curie.

The historical context and references range from the events leading to WW I, the Weimar Republic, a fictionalized menage of Franz Marc, Max Beckmann, Hannah Höch, and Marie Curie, plus Dada. Part of it takes place at the Cabaret Voltaire -- the last time Zurich was really interesting.

While watching the performance tonight, I was reminded of the quote I posted earlier. I worry about the ability of artists to create works with historical resonance, or references, given the dumbing down of our culture and the nearly complete lack of historical or cultural knowledge. No wonder people think movies are the highest art form now. Most of them are easy on the eyes, don't make you think too much, ignore history, and give you musical cues about how you're supposed to be reacting. I wonder if I'll have to rely on European culture to keep such ideas alive for a bit longer, at least as long as I live. That's one more reason to work on my languages.

This explains a lot about America

Not to have knowledge of what happened before you were born is to be condemned to live forever as a child.

  -- Cicero

Oops, one more theatre show

I already saw it, but you should go if you're interested in music or theatre, or music theatre:

The Sandman, a new opera from Target Margin

Art things to see

... as opposed to my theatre post earlier today:

Things to go see

I'm going to see all of these, so email me if you want to know when I'm attending.

At St. Ann's Warehouse in DUMBO:

  • Jennie Richee -- because of Mac Wellman and almost everyone else involved

  • Brace Up! -- because of Wooster Group and Paul Schmidt

  • Barber of Seville -- because of the music and David Neumann

At P.S. 122:

  • Paul Zaloom -- gay puppetry

  • Art, Life and Show Biz -- Ain Gordon

  • Sentence -- David Neumann

  • Bitter Bierce - Mac Wellman and Ambrose Bierce

Plus Panic! at Ontological, since one needs a dose of Richard Foreman occasionally, and I know one of the cast members, Tea Alagic.

The shape of things to come

OK, I finally added the Daily Kos to my blogs on the right after reading 2003 in review, a "future history."

Republican Morality Scale

They thought Clinton lying about sex was the worst behavior in the history of American politics. South Knox Bubba has a response.

[via Ruminate This]

A sweet holiday movie

A mother to her daughter, on her friend whose parents don't seem to love her:

I know darling... One thing about unwanted children: they soon learn how to take care of themselves.

-- from The World of Henry Orient starring Peter Sellars, Paula Prentiss, and Angela Lansbury. We got it from NetFlix and watched it last night.

I had heard of the movie, and was reminded of it recently when the Times had an obituary of the director, George Roy Hill.

It's a weird early 60s movie with worldly parents drinking scotch, and two 14-year-old girls who decide to stalk a concert pianist named Henry Orient. The way the two girls joke about Chinese stereotypes and speak in funny accents probably helps explain why the film is so obscure today.

One of the two girls went on join the Dark Side as a communications expert, working for the likes of William Webster and Ronald Reagan.

Money money money

The Bush administration kills tracking of mass layoffs, because it makes them look bad.

Meanwhile, our President stands to make a lot of money from worldwide war the old-fashioned way, by inheriting it.

One more: our tax dollars have started going to religious groups to promote marriage. I love my gay dollars going to help spread the word that I'm evil.

Good essay on why cutting taxes on dividends is a bad idea.

My new daily reading

Phil Gyford has turned the diaries of Samuel Pepys into a daily weblog.

An article by him about the project is on the BBC web site.

My quote for 2003


Tyranny is the absence of complexity.
-- André Gide

Tom Moody

Yay! Charles Goldman -- we're almost done with his web site, then I'll tell you about it -- has pointed me to a cool weblog by an artist, Tom Moody. He also has a second blog about electronic music here.

I like his post about the lethargy of the art world and Chelsea as an artist-free Brasilia for collectors.

I need to organize my links area. It's time to separate political vs. general vs. cultural ones somehow.

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